Kings County supervisors declare drought

KINGS COUNTY, Calif.

Plenty of dry brush has prompted Kings County supervisors to declare the drought. Officials are worried about farmers and a potentially busy fire season.

After a dry winter farmers in Kings County have been forced to irrigate their crops. Last year, steady rainfall kept their fields green. Dry canals were a clear indication that a miracle March full of rain is unlikely. This week supervisors voted unanimously to declare a drought in Kings County.

Citing minimal rainfall this winter and the dismal snow survey by the Department of Water Resources -- supervisors declared a drought just eleven months after announcing a four year drought was over. Now, supervisors say they need to reinstate the drought status to protect the county's current water supply and farmers who are struggling from the lack of rain.

The official declaration also makes it easier for the county to apply for emergency funding. Firefighters are also worried the arid conditions will make for a busier than normal fire season.

Last year's near record rainfall caused enormous plant growth. Those plants have since dried out, leaving a bigger fire threat behind. In fact on Wednesday, Kings County firefighters say a fast-moving brush fire in Kettleman City along I5 caused so much smoke on the freeway, two big rigs and a car collided in the poor visibility.

Starting next month firefighters here will be going out into neighborhoods and outlying areas to make sure people are clearing the dry brush on their properties. Properties with fire hazards could be issued a citation.

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